The Rutherford Scholarships are awarded to high-school students entering post-secondary education at any of the . However, these are not only for studies in Alberta. You will still be eligible for Rutherford scholarships if you want to study at other or even abroad. But there are a few eligibility requirements you should know about, along with the application process. This article will talk more about the exact requirements and give you a step-by-step guide to apply for the Rutherford scholarships.
The Rutherford Scholarship, named after Alberta’s first premier, is a merit-based scholarship designed to support Alberta high-school students pursuing post-secondary education within the province, outside the province, including in Canada and abroad. The award recognizes and rewards outstanding academic achievement, as your academic performance is the only selection criteria. Your academic performance, specifically your grade average, will also determine the scholarship amount, which we’ll also break down later.
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The Rutherford scholarship is open only to residents of Alberta, but, if you’re from out-of-province, or a permanent resident of Canada, you can qualify for residency based on a few conditions we’ll get to later. There are other Alberta scholarships that are offered in conjunction with the Rutherford scholarship. Meaning, if you apply for the Rutherford scholarship you will automatically be considered for three other Alberta scholarships, namely:
- Rutherford Scholars Award
- Dr. Ernest and Minnie Mehl Scholarship
- Mildred Rowe Weston Memorial Scholarship
There is no separate application necessary for these scholarships, so you do not have to write any essays or recommendation letters or interview for the associated awards. You only have to apply for the main Rutherford scholarship to be considered for the other scholarships as well. What’s more, none of the Rutherford scholarships are community-based, so you do not have to be especially involved with a lot of or be engaged in many although those are good to have for other reasons, including if you want to apply to other scholarships or build an impressive .
The Rutherford scholarship is also a . You do not have to write any or get any to qualify. The award is given out based strictly on your highest average from your last three years of high school – Grade 10, 11, 12 – based on a specific list of courses, which are:
- English Language Arts
- Social Studies
- French Language Arts
As we mentioned, the final award amount for the Rutherford scholarship is based on your best grades in any of the above courses from your last three years of high school. For each year of high school, there are two award categories:
- 75.0-79.9% for lowest award amount
- 80% or higher for the highest award amount
The final award amount is also determined by which grade (10, 11, 12) you got the highest marks in. For example, if you scored an 80% or higher in any of the above courses in Grade 12, your scholarship will be worth $1,500. However, if you scored an 80% in Grade 10, you’ll only receive $400. The award amounts all differ depending on the marks you received, which grade you received it in and whether they were at least above 75.0%.
Other requirements are that you must already be enrolled in a recognized post-secondary institution to apply and have graduated high school. You cannot apply for the Rutherford scholarship if you’re planning to enroll or are in the process of enrolling. You must have confirmation that you are enrolled into a suitable post-secondary program to qualify for the Rutherford scholarship. So, you should not apply for the Rutherford scholarship if you are:
- In the process of upgrading your marks
- Not yet enrolled in a post-secondary or apprentice program
If this sounds a bit confusing, then, don’t worry. You won’t have to confirm your eligibility or calculate your averages from any grades by going through your transcripts. When you apply, (and you must apply; the Rutherford scholarship is not an entrance scholarship) Student Aid Alberta will assess your eligibility by reviewing your official transcripts. They will also determine whether you are eligible for any of the other scholarships we named above, even though they have different eligibility requirements.
The Rutherford Scholars Awards are awarded to the ten students who have achieved the highest grades on the Alberta Diploma Examinations, which are the standardized exams every high-school student in Alberta has to complete to earn their high school diploma. You must complete both the course work and diploma exams in each of these subjects to graduate with an Albertan high school diploma.
Your final grades, which will appear on your official transcripts, are calculated based on both your coursework and your performance on the diploma exams. Your performance throughout the year in your coursework is weighted more heavily, as it makes up 70% of your final grade. Your performance on the diploma exams only makes up 30% of your final grade. But to be eligible for the Rutherford Scholars Award, only your diploma exam marks will be reviewed.
Similar to the main Rutherford scholarship, the Rutherford Scholars Award is based on your best scores from any of the five diploma exams you must write. Student Aid Alberta will look at your performance on all the diploma exams, and if you are among the top ten scorers for any combination of five different subjects, you’ll be awarded the Rutherford Scholars Award (valued at $2,500) provided you applied for the main Rutherford scholarship.
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The Dr. Ernest and Minnie Mehl Scholarship is very similar to the Rutherford Scholars Award. The former is awarded to students who are among the top ten scorers in any combination of the five diploma exams you have to write to graduate high school in Alberta. However, the Mehl scholarship has one small difference. You must have completed at least Grade 12 in an Alberta high school that teaches the Alberta Education Curriculum.
You must also be a Canadian citizen, and be a resident of Alberta to qualify, but this applies to all of the scholarships offered within the Rutherford scholarship program. The Mehl scholarships are also among the most lucrative of all the Rutherford scholarships, as you can win a one-time $3,500 award, which is higher than all the other award amounts. There is no separate application needed to apply for the Mehl scholarship, and you will be automatically considered for the Mehl scholarship if you apply for the Rutherford scholarship.
The Mildred Rowe Weston Memorial Scholarship has a simpler selection criterion than the other Rutherford scholarships, as you will be selected for this award based on your Grade 12 averages. However, there is another requirement. You must have taken at least three courses through the Alberta Distance Learning Centre (ADLC), which must appear on your official transcript. If you are among the top three students with the highest Grade 12 averages, you are eligible for the Weston scholarships, which awards $1,000 to each of the three top students. There is no separate application needed for the Weston scholarship, as you only have to apply for the Rutherford scholarship to be considered.
You’re probably worried, (or a little confused) about whether you’re eligible for the main Rutherford scholarship, or any of the associated scholarships. But you may also want to improve your grades so you can get more money, especially if you already graduated high school and looking to apply to post-secondary. We’ll let you know what exactly you can do to help bump up your overall averages to ensure you qualify or earn more money, which entails upgrading your marks. Upgrading is for students who have graduated high school, are enrolled (but have not started) in university and want to improve their marks to be eligible for the scholarship.
Student Aid Alberta has a list of schools that offer upgrading courses, which also include online programs, offered by different high schools throughout Alberta. You don't have to go to upgrading courses, unless you want to; but the option exists. You have to apply to the school directly by contacting the principal, and ask to be enrolled into an upgrading course. There are usually no tuition or entrance fees, but you might be asked to pay for materials, such as textbooks. However, if even this is too much for you, there are specific financial aid programs for high school students who want to upgrade their marks, as well funding for adult learners who also want to upgrade and are unsure of .
Since the Rutherford scholarships are based on academic performance, the program allows you to “upgrade” your marks in various ways. The only caveat is that you must complete the upgrading course before you apply for the Rutherford scholarship.
You can only apply once for the Rutherford scholarship. So, if you are taking an upgrading course to increase your marks in a specific course, such as Physics or Biology, you must complete it before applying. You cannot add it later to your transcripts after you have applied.
The completed upgrading course must also appear on your official transcript, which is also part of your application for the Rutherford scholarship. For this reason, you should do a little investigating into whether you are eligible for the Rutherford scholarship based on your current grades, before you apply to any post-secondary institution.
Another caveat to upgrading your marks is that you cannot take an advanced course if you have not completed the lower-level course first. For example, if you have not already successfully completed Grade 11 Mathematics, you cannot take a Grade 12 Mathematics course, especially if you want to upgrade. If you wanted to do that, you must complete Grade 11 Mathematics first, and then apply for Grade 12 Mathematics.
So, if you’ve:
- Completed your upgrading course
- Added the course to your official transcript
- Have applied and been accepted into a post-secondary program
You’re ready to apply for the Rutherford scholarship. The entire application is done online. You only have to apply for the Rutherford scholarship once and you do not have to apply separately for any of the other Rutherford scholarships. To start the application process, you must first:
- Create an account with Student Aid Alberta
Once you have created the account, you can then apply for all kinds of student aid, not only the Rutherford scholarships. When you login to your Student Aid Alberta account, you’ll see a list of awards and scholarships you can apply for, one of which will be the Rutherford scholarship. You can begin the process by clicking on the Apply button for the scholarship you want to apply to, based on when your post-secondary studies will commence. You will have to complete three parts of the application, which are divided between:
- Personal Information
- Studies Information
- Financial Information
Each section is used to determine your eligibility for a variety of different scholarships, grants or bursaries. You must complete each section and include information such as your:
- Social Insurance Number
- Alberta Student Number
- Costs and available resources
- Any other awards or scholarships you’ve received
- Name of institution and program of study
Once you have completed each section of the application process, you can submit the application. If you’re eligible for the Rutherford scholarship after Student Aid Alberta calculates your grade averages from across your three final years in high school, the final step is being confirmed as a student at your post-secondary institution. Your post-secondary school must confirm your enrollment within 30 days.
If they do confirm, you’ll be mailed a cheque based on your grade average from the five certified courses. If your school does not confirm, you will be mailed a confirmation form that you can take to the registrar’s office at your school. After your school completes the form, you can mail it back to Student Aid Alberta, who will then issue you a cheque with the amount corresponding to your performance in the five selected courses.
1. Make Sure You’re Eligible for Rutherford Scholarships
If you want to get a Rutherford scholarship, the only requirement is your academic performance. You must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident and resident of Alberta, as Rutherford scholarships are not . But those are the only eligibility requirements. The selection criteria are all about your marks, so you have to make sure to check the grade ranges for receiving the Rutherford scholarship, before you apply and even before you apply to your post-secondary school. But, since the award amounts are also based on your performance, you have to ask yourself whether you want to only meet the minimum (75.5%) or try to apply yourself and upgrade your marks to get higher award amounts.
2. Take Upgrading Courses if You’re Not Eligible or Want a Higher Award Amount
If you find that you don’t meet the selection criteria, or that you want to try to get a higher award amount, you should consider enrolling in upgrading courses. Upgrading can help you achieve the necessary grades and qualifications, although they do require an investment of time. Many secondary institutions offer specific upgrading programs tailored to meet scholarship requirements, so you should do your research on which is the best for you to take, including whether they have online options and the costs involved
Additionally, upgrading your skills and knowledge not only boosts your eligibility for the Rutherford scholarships, but it can also pay off in the long-run, as you can apply to other scholarships or awards based on your improved GPA, including the other two Rutherford scholarships, the Dr. Ernest and Minnie Mehl Scholarship and the Mildred Rowe Weston Memorial Scholarship, which both also consider high grade averages.
The Rutherford Scholarships are among the to get. You don’t have to write and submit personal statements or recommendation letters. You also do not have to have a lengthy record of community service or leadership roles. You simply have to have the right grade average, and if you don’t, you can take upgrading courses to get your marks up, which will also increase your chances of getting a more lucrative award.
1. What are the Rutherford scholarships?
The Rutherford scholarships are Alberta-based scholarships that reward high academic achievement. However, you can apply as an out-of-province student, as long as you present your official high school transcripts and meet the residency requirements, such as having lived for 12 consecutive months in Alberta.
2. How many Rutherford scholarships are there?
There are four Rutherford scholarships. One is the main award given to high school students enrolled in a post-secondary program who meet the selection criteria. The other three Rutherford scholarships are aimed more at students from Alberta, as you need to either have completed diploma exams in Alberta (the Rutherford Scholars award) or have graduated from an Alberta high school (the Mehl scholarship).
3. What are the eligibility requirements for the Rutherford scholarships?
You must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person to apply for the Rutherford scholarship. You can have completed high school outside of Alberta, but you must satisfy the residency requirement, which can be done either by living in Alberta for 12 consecutive months, having your parent or guarding or your spouse live in Alberta for the same amount of time.
4. What is the selection criteria for the Rutherford scholarships?
You will be considered for the Rutherford scholarship if you have at least a 75% in any of the main courses you need to complete to graduate high school in Alberta. If you have an 80% in any of five of the courses, you can receive a higher award amount.
5. What are the award amounts for the Rutherford scholarships?
The highest possible award amount for the main Rutherford scholarship is $1,500; the lowest is $400. The other award amounts range from $1,500 for the Rutherford Scholars Award to $3,500 for the Mehl scholarship.
6. How can I apply for Rutherford scholarships?
You apply for Rutherford scholarships online through You must be enrolled (not planning to enroll, or in the process of enrolling) in a post-secondary program, whether in Alberta, out-of-province, or international to be eligible.
7. Can I combine Rutherford scholarships with other financial aid?
Yes, you can combine Rutherford scholarships with other financial aid and scholarships, including the other scholarships offered under the Rutherford scholarship. However, you cannot apply again for the Rutherford scholarship if you have already received one. It is also non-renewable.
8. Is it hard to get a Rutherford scholarship?
No, it is not hard to get a Rutherford scholarship. The way the scholarship is designed is meant to motivate you to excel academically, so you’ll not only be eligible, but have a chance of getting more money. You don’t have to write any essays or interview, but if you want to push yourself, you can take upgrading courses to ensure you get a higher award amount.